Speaking out in support of men – how to reach out as a male victim of crime
It’s no secret that men speak out about their experiences, thoughts and feelings less than women. We see this at Voice in both the gender split of those who seek help, and the analytics on our website – in both cases, we see approximately two females for every male. However, we know this isn’t reflected in statistics around the genders of victims of crime, and we likely see less men due to their reservations about coming forward for support.
Dr. Will Courtenay, an internationally recognized expert on men’s health, believes this is due to the powerful effect of societal pressure for men to ‘be manly’. Ironically, studies have shown that this drive for masculinity is likely to mean men adopt much more unhealthy behaviours than females – such as bottling up feelings and not accessing help when they need to.
Even though the (unwarranted) negative stigma around men speaking out is beginning to subside, a quick search on Google suggests there is some way to go – with the majority of articles around the subject actually being aimed at women, with tips to help male friends and family to speak out, rather than at men themselves!
But help is at hand – we know that accessing support after crime is difficult for anyone, and something men find particularly hard to do. For that reason, we’ve compiled five things you should know as a man, to help you speak out and access support. And when you’re ready to have a conversation, give us a call.
Know that talking has a purpose
One of the biggest reasons why men don’t talk about their experiences, thoughts and feelings is because they don’t see the point. However, talking is good – we promise! It helps you to process what has happened, to reflect on and explore your feelings and ultimately, talking helps you to start the process of moving on.
Know what you’re feeling is normal
The difficulty with being a man who doesn’t talk about his feelings is that you never really know what other men are thinking and feeling. This can make you feel like you’re the only one who feels a certain way. We’ll stop you there – feeling angry, scared, depressed, isolated, sad, traumatised or anxious are all totally normal responses to crime. However you’re feeling, it’s nothing that others in the same position haven’t felt too.
Know that feeling uncomfortable about speaking out is normal too
As a man, talking about your feelings can feel strange and uncomfortable at the best of times and completely alien and weird at the worst. Without sounding like a broken record, this is normal too. We know this takes a bit of getting used to and can be a hurdle to you speaking out, but we promise, it’s something most men feel too.
Know that however little you think you have to say, it’s worth saying
Some of the anxiety around speaking about your feelings is not knowing what to say and wondering if you’ll just clam-up. Again, this is totally normal and not something that should put you off. Speaking out is a journey, and like any journey, a single step starts the process – just telling someone the smallest thing to start with will help you to continue to speak about your thoughts and feelings. And like any journey, once you have taken one step, the second, third and fourth are easier.
Know that you’re talking to professionals, in confidence
Our team are experienced at helping people like you to talk about their experiences and feelings, to help you cope, recover and thrive following crime. At Voice, we know which questions to ask to help you talk about what you’ve experienced and when to just let you rant, if that’s what you want to do! All our support is in confidence, which means we won’t tell a soul if you don’t want us to. We’ll listen to you for as long as you need and help you develop a personal support plan, so you can move on from crime.
Finally: know that we’re always here
If you’ve experienced crime and think you’d benefit from our expert help and support, contact us – we’re here whenever you’re ready.